Trick-or-Treaters for UNICEF

Trick-or-Treaters for UNICEF

Are Never Too Young for Philanthropy

By Karen Deerwester, Ed.S.

Compassion and empathy are powerful feelings at any age. Children notice when they see others sad or hurting – whether it’s in their own neighborhood or the communities ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, or even villages on the other side of the world. When young children see someone distressed, they wonder: “What can I do to make things better?” We, as adults, are in a wonderful position to turn heartfelt compassion into positive action.

With Halloween approaching, the annual “Trick or Treat for UNICEF” campaign is a perfect vehicle to bring out the little philanthropist in your child. Kids easily relate to the needs of other children. Trick or Treating for UNICEF is an age-appropriate and tangible way for them to help. We can support children and teach them they can make a difference through this time-honored tradition -- especially this year, when proceeds from the campaign will go to both Hurricane Katrina relief efforts and UNICEF’s worldwide programs for children in need. (For more details, downloadable Trick-or-Treat materials and even educational games, visit

Carrying an orange collection box on Halloween night is one small part of the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF experience, but you can include your child in the philanthropic process from beginning to end. Help your child understand why help is needed. Show her that her participation matters. Focus on who she is working “for” as well as who she is working “with”. And finally, follow through with what happens after the donations are collected by reading updates online and signing up for an e-mail newsletter on UNICEF’s work.

This relatively small task of Trick or Treating for UNICEF has big rewards, teaching children:

• That they are part of a community.

• That they can contribute to the well-being of others.

• That everyone has something to give.

• How to transform an idea into action.

• A sense of gratitude for what they have.

Children need adults to gently steer them towards philanthropy. Most importantly, children need adults to make helping others a child-sized project. Whether youÂ’re two or twenty two, the mission to do whatever you can is the same. And so are the rewards, including the satisfaction of making a difference and the joy of helping others! Once we all know that we have something to give, we know unequivocally that we have something for which to be grateful. We are blessed.

YouÂ’ll be surprised that the person who gains the most may just be the person doing the giving, not the receiving.

© Family Time Inc. 2005

About the author

Karen Deerwester is the owner of Family Time Coaching & Consulting and a leading presenter on parenting and child development topics since 1984.


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